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tv   British Prime Ministers Questions  CSPAN  December 23, 2012 9:30pm-10:05pm EST

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pay tribute to the members to campaign hard over these issues and and glad we have released a resolution that is proper and right. >> ed miliband. >> i want to start by joining the prime minister in paying tribute to the troops in afghanistan who continued to show a huge courage and bravery. it is particularly important at this time of year to remember that and their families, many of whom will be separated from them. their families are in all our thoughts. i also want to welcome the government announcement today on reducing the number of troops in afghanistan during 2013. we await the defense secretary's statement -- can the prime minister tell the house how many troops and civilians will be left with in afghanistan after the 2014 deadline, and whether they will be there under afghan- led command? >> i join the leader of the opposition in welcoming what our troops do.
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on afghanistan, we have to decisions to make. first of all, the decision about the drawdown between now and the end of 2013, and what the defense secretary would announce is because of the success of our forces and the afghan national security forces and the fact that we are moving from a man during a battalion level to mentoring at a grade level by the end of 2013, will be able to see troops come home in two steps, leaving about 5200 troops after the end of 2013. compared with the 9000 we have now. it is to pay tribute to the incredible work they have done, many coming back for tour after tour. this book with particularly -- they were impressed by the afghan national sources -- those who i spoke with particularly were impressed by the afghan national forces. no one in a combat role, nothing like the troops we have now -- we promised the afghans who will provide the officer training
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academy have specifically asked for and are prepared to look at other issues above and beyond that, but that is the starting baseline. >> ed miliband. >> can i thank the prime minister for that answer. given the thousands of troops who will still be in harm's way in afghanistan, can the prime minister tell us what specific effort the government is making with the international community to match the continuing military efforts with the greater diplomatic efforts that i know he and i both think are important, because after all this is what we will leave behind or has our best chance of leaving behind a in durable peace in afghanistan which is so important? >> he is entirely right. as well as a military track, there has always been a political and diplomatic track. after 2014, after december 2014 there will still be some troops who will be involved in returning equipment and dealing with logistics'. exact announcements will be made at a later stage.
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in terms of the work that we will go on doing, because we will not be leaving afghanistan in terms of our support and are called for the afghans -- will be contributing 70 million pounds a year to help pay for the afghan national security forces. we will have an aid program in excess of 170 million pounds a year for afghanistan. in terms of the diplomatic track, the thing we are most focused on is bringing afghanistan and pakistan to gather. i have posted meetings between the two presidents. i hope to host for the meetings, including early in the new year. i spoke to president karzai this morning to keep working on this vital relationships of pakistan and afghanistan can see they have a shared interest in a stable future. >> ed miliband. >> i am grateful to the prime minister for that answer -- i want to turn to another issue. i want to recognize the work of thousands of volunteers helping out in our nation's food banks and the millions of people who are donating food to them. mr. speaker, is the prime
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minister as concerned as i am that there has been a sixfold increase in three years in the number of people relying on food banks? >> let me echo what he said about volunteers and people who work hard at our communities. part of what i call the big society -- to help people in need. it is a good time of year to thank our volunteers and what they do, but i do share his concern about people who are struggling to pay the bills, struggling to deal with their budget. the most important thing is to get on top of inflation, and inflation is coming down. the most important thing is to get more people into work and out of poverty. we see 600,000 more private- sector jobs this year. we are helping those families by freezing the council tax and by making sure that we help families with the cost of living. >> ed miliband. >> mr. speaker, we both pay tribute to workers and
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volunteers, but i never thought the big society was about feeding hungry children in britain. the problem is is working people who are turning to food banks. one head teacher of a teacher rated at standing says that even children with a parent or parents in work are often struggling with the choice between heating their homes, buying their children clothes, or buying them food. airport last week by the children's society said that 2/3 teachers were providing people with food or money to prevent them going hungry. mr. speaker, why does he think is happening, and why does it appear to be getting worse on his watch? >> i agree. we do have to do more to help the poorest in our country. that is why we have lifted the personal tax and have taken 2 million of the lowest paid people and remove tax altogether. if you take someone who is on a minimum wage to works full-time,
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because of the tax changes we have made, their income tax bill has been cut in half. i would also make this point -- because of the decisions we made in this government to increase the child tax credit by 390 pounds ahead of inflation, we have helped those families with bills and will continue to do more in the future. >> speaker, i am afraid this is very out of touch with families -- the problem is, but the chancellor did not tell us in the autumn statement was his tax will be hitting world families -- working families up and down the country. in the third year of his government, more children are going hungry and more families are relying on food banks. is it not the clearest indictment of his government's values -- well low and middle income families are hit, at the same time he is giving a hat -- average of a 107,000 pound tax
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cut to people earning over 1 million pounds a year. >> was out of touch is denying the fact that we had a deficit that we had to deal with. that is what we have had to do. we have been able to do it at the same time as cutting taxes for the poorest in our country, increasing child tax credit, and ashley freezing the casual tax to help the families. when it comes to the top rating -- the richest in our country will pay more in tax under every year of this government than any year of his government. those are the facts. he may not like them, but he cannot deny them. >> ed miliband. >> the problem is, nobody believes him anymore. and we know who this prime minister stands up for. where was he last weekend -- back to his old ways, partying with rebecca brooks. no doubt both looking forward to the boxing day hunt, mr. speaker. that is before he was elected --
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the prime minister said, unless he can represent everyone in your country, you cannot be a one-nation party. that was then. this is now. everybody knows you cannot be a one-nation prime minister. >> mr. speaker, it would not be christmas without the repeats. that is all we ever get. that is all we ever get from the honorable gentleman. i will tell them what they have done this year -- what we have done this year -- we have 6000 more private-sector jobs. we said would help with the cost of living -- -- we froze the castle tax. we have cut the deficit by a quarter. what have we heard from him this year? what has he had told us about the deficit? nothing. what has he told us about welfare? nothing. what has he told us about his education plan? nothing. the fact is he has got absolutely nothing to offer except for the same old something for nothing culture
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that got us in this mess in the first place. >> a democratic society -- will the prime minister -- >> order, order. members must now come down. it is the questions and the answers must be heard. >> will the prime minister therefore seek assurances from the commissioner of the metropolitan police that no stone will be left unturned in getting to the full truth about allegations that a police officer suffocated evidence against a member of the cabinet? >> let me say, at christmastime, it is right to pay tribute to break police officers, men and women who look after us around the clock and do an extremely good job. but the point my honorable friend has made is important.
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a police officer posing as a member of the public and sending in the -- e-mail to blacken the name of a cabinet minister is a serious issue and needs to be investigated. the metropolitan police service is conducting a thorough investigation to get to the truth of this matter as quick as possible. the independent police complaints commission will be supervising the investigation. we should allow them to get to the truth. >> david anderson? >> despite what the prime minister has said -- the diseases of rickets and tuberculosis -- food banks are increasing. kids are going to school hungry. we have a stagnant economy. does the paul -- prime minister acknowledge his policies have taken the country back to the 1930's? >> i would hope the honorable
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gentleman would be celebrating the fact that nissan has announced another 125 million pounds of investment into our country. one of the biggest and most successful car plants anywhere in britain. we face tough economic times, but the fact is we have over 1 million private-sector jobs last year and this year. some of the fastest rates of new business creation. that is what is happening. yes there are tough times and tough choices, but our economy is rebalancing and we should recognize that. >> in march we introduced a new local green space designation to protect green's base is not just for landscape painters but for suburban communities in my constituency. can the prime minister reassure local councils that they can and should use this new designation and that it has not been undermined by any recent pronouncements? >> i would reassure my friend that the national planning
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policy framework was 1000 pages long, now does 50 pages long -- that is our planning framework. we're giving great power to local authorities and also to have neighborhood plan so that these decisions can be made where they should be -- more locally. >> having had a suicide note from a constituent of mine who took his own life -- having no longer receive disability benefits. how you respond to the thousands of people who have died -- this is 2012. we are supposed to be a civilized society. we should be looking after the disabled citizens here in a u.k. -- of that u.k. will the prime minister listen
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to the thousands of people who signed the petition and finally, please, order an assessment of all changes for disabled people in this country? >> i will look very carefully. obviously it is a very tragic case that the gentleman brings to the house. everyone's thoughts will go out to that person's family and what has happened to them. what i would say to him is the actual money we are putting into disability benefits over the coming years is going up and not down, but i think everybody knows and everyone accepts that we need to have a review of disability benefits. some people have been stuck on these benefits and not been reviewed for year after year after year. that is the view of the disability charities and that of the government as well. >> thank you, mr. speaker. as we approach christmas, will the prime minister john me in celebrating the fact that there are more people in employment this christmas than there have ever been in this nation of
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great britain? >> the honorable lady makes an important point. the leader of the opposition said in january that unemployment was going to go up -- that is the prediction he made. he said that. the fact is, unemployment has come down, employment has gone up. a record fall in youth unemployment in the last quarter. all those things are welcome, particularly as we see such a growth in the private sector. everyone knows that we have to have a rebalancing of our economy where we shed some jobs in the public sector but grow the private sector. that is what is happening. >> merry christmas, mr. speaker. >> can we have a vote on that?
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>> thank you. people realize now that the prime minister has a dickensian view of the u.k. -- grandeur for the few, workhouse for the many. well delimiting fowelfare -- welfare benefits for parents caring for adults with disabilities. can we have an explanation? >> i would say -- there will be cases of speaking opportunities in the new year. we have not restricted disability benefits. we have put more money into disability benefits. that is what this government is doing. what i would say -- we have taken difficult decisions to increase tax credits by 1%, to increase public sector pay by 1%, and to increase out of work benefits by 1%, and that is a decision that needed to be taken. >> last week, the census figures
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revealed that the previous government presided over the largest wave of immigration our country has ever seen. yet next christmas our borders will be flung even wider to potentially limitless immigration, with 29 million people who live in romania and bulgaria. will my friend looks seriously at triggering the national interest clauses buried deep in the eu directives to stem this new flow, especially for those with criminal records or those who seek access to our welfare benefits? >> first of all, let me echo what my honorable friend said. the last government allowed a completely uncontrolled system of migration, where we saw a net immigration of 200,000 a year. 2 million people across a decade. that is to cities the size of
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birmingham today in our country every year. not one word of apology for the mass that they left. my friend makes an important point. as the controls come off the accession countries, i will look carefully at what he says. we do have rules to try to restrict access to benefits. we'll go on working to make is as robust as possible. i mention the national interest clauses in the statement on europe on monday. i think this can only be triggered if there are emergency conditions, but i will look carefully at what he said. >> the prime minister told the house universal credit-card to put in work incentives for all people of -- all levels of income. why then does the department nasa universal credit will mean working women will consider getting off work? >> that is not the case at all. universal credit means, because we are bringing different benefits together, what it means is people will always be better
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off in a work and peak -- in work and working extra hours. they have 13 years to -- had 13 years to sort out the poverty traps and failed. >> mark spencer. >> my constituent is currently stuck in cuba, despite having a british passport. i wonder if the prime minister could encourage cuban authorities to look with speed to try to get him back with his family for christmas. >> i understand why my friend raises this case -- he was born in cuba and entered the u.k., but obtained a british passport in 1997. we are in regular contact with the cuban authorities, who have advised him that he should expect to receive his cuban passports this week, which will enable him to travel. ultimately the decision does rest with cuban authorities, but consular officials will continue
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to assist him and we will keep in touch with the gentleman. >> in april, the prime minister stated energy efficiency will be placed at the heart of government policy. on monday of this week, the government's feel advisory group warned that there could be over 9 million households in the fuel poverty. can the prime minister tell us why for next year, expenditure on heating insulation programs for low-income households will be halted? >> i know the lady takes a deep interest -- the green a deal is a bigger and better program being brought in. i would make the point that labour promised to abolish fuel party altogether in 2005, and l party came up.
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we have done is we have maintained the payments and increased the cold weather payments. we're making money available under the fund. the green deal -- some of the biggest schemes ever introduced in the country. >> does the prime minister agree with the shadow health secretary that any increase in the expenditure of the nhs would be, as he put it, irresponsible? >> my friend makes an important point. in a recent health debate, the health secretary asked the health secretary -- shall help secretary, does he stand by his comment that it is irresponsible to increased nhs spending? the shadow secretary said, yes i do. it may be christmastime, and the shadow south secretary is the gift that keeps on giving. >> mr. speaker, last week 100
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young homeless people came to this house for the first ever young homeless people's parliament. i am grateful for you to being present and the ministers who came to engage with them. they were excellent young people, giving a powerful, personal testimony as to why they have become homeless and setting out in no uncertain terms what they expect from us in this house. can i ask the prime minister this question -- above all, they want their voice to be heard. they agreed that they would seek a meeting with the prime minister. will the prime minister received a delegation of this young homeless people? >> first of all, can i join you in welcoming the fact that they came to parliament to make these points. i will listen carefully to what they have to say. i think the truth is in our country we have seen housing benefits increase by something like 50% over the recent years,
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and even under our plans housing benefits will continue to increase. the truth is, what we need to do in britain is build more homes -- in the private sector and the socially rented a sector. that is the vital task ahead of us. >> mr. speaker, the closure of the originally state sponsored lifeline helicopter service to years ago -- two months ago has presented significant challenges to islanders and medical services and the economy. the local people are not the stakeholders -- they are working together. will the prime minister be prepared to meet a small delegation in order to explore in this hour of desperate need? >> my friend makes an important point. proper transport is absolutely
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vital. other providers are looking to fill the gaps that have been left by the helicopter service. this would provide the most long-term and sustainable option rather than government subsidy. obviously, we have to look at all the options. it is a part of the country that needs to be connected to the mainland. if it is necessary to have the meeting, then of course i will. >> david crosby. order, let's have a bit of order for mr. david crosby. >> when the robbers stole 2.5 million pounds from royal mail, they were sentenced to as much as 30 years in prison. yet when our bankers get caught fraudulently taking billions of pounds from poor people throughout the world, they just pay f a pay fine and walk away -- they just pay a fat afine and walk away.
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how can we do anything together as long as we tolerate corporate villains were too frivolous to be put behind bars? >> the gentleman makes an important point. that is why the weekly review into the libor scandal recommended criminal sanctions. i think when people have broken the law, they should face the full force of the criminal law. what punishment we should design for people who sold our gold at half price is another matter altogether. >> you mentioned a terrible condition that destroys lives -- will my honorable friend the prime minister join me in commending the county council on local health care, developing the excellent poverty and dementia portal that is providing services to dementia
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services and their carers? >> i am happy to join in pain to be to the council. we need to do far more as a country to tackle dementia. there are three important parts -- first is to recognize this is a disease, and not just a national park -- natural part of aging. we need to increase the research and improve the care people get in hospitals and care homes and make sure there is far more dignity. it is something we're all communities have to come together and make more dementia- friendly communities, and that is where local government can legally buy breeding organizations together, as they have obviously done their. >>-- bringing organizations together, as they have obviously done there. >> 1 minister has pleaded guilty for charges -- can the prime minister please remind the house how many times he has ridden with the hunt, and whether he used his own horse?
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>> i can happily put on record that i have never broken the law in this regard. >> could i -- could i reassure my honorable friend that those of my constituents to have most strongly been in favor of performing at benefits focusing more on those who need them are and taking away from those who not -- or those who are fed up working long hours to subsidize the lifestyles of those who do not want to work? >> my honorable friend makes an important point. we made three difficult decisions -- we have set a 1% pay freeze on the public sector, a 1% increase on working benefits, and 1% freeze on tax credits. the party opposite supports the 1% freeze on public sector pay
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-- but they do not support the 1% increase on the welfare benefits. they think that people out of work, in comes should be going up faster than people who are in a work. that is why they are so profoundly out of touch with a nation and why they are not in government. >> thank you, mr. speaker. with his local hunters reserve and his name in trouble over phone hacking, the prime minister might be stuck alone over christmas watching films on tv. i have a quick span of the times -- "the grinch who stole christmas" starring the chancellor of the exchequer. or "is not a wonderful life for the poor, " starring him. >> we will have to have a uppets christmas carol instead.
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i do have one suggestion -- everybody knows the shadow chancellor does a brilliant job playing santa at the christmas party every year. he does an excellent job -- why not give everyone an early christmas present, make the arrangement permanent, and give him the sack? >> are we all in order? order. the house should hear the voice of bacon. >> does the prime minister agree with the increasing number of informed commentators who believe that the fencing of investment banking subsidiaries will not work properly, and what is required is complete separation? >> the government has looked to this issue very carefully. obviously we commissioned the report which came up with the idea of fencing.
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i think that is right -- the idea, what we want to make sure is that if a bank fails it can fail safely without taxpayers happen to stump up the money to sort it out. that would be a major advance and sending the whole country would support. >>-- something the whole country would support. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister will be aware of the welcome news this morning that the attorney general's application to cross the verdict was upheld by the high court. he will understand that this now will involve the families in a great deal of legal issues to make sure they are properly represented. will he agree to waive the vat on the cde, rectly to
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the hillsborough family. >> can i join the right hon. gentleman in the decision long wanted to have. the system has moved rapidly since there was a statement under debate in this house to bring about. i receive recommendations about the hillsborough county, the exchequer's on the other side of of the atlantic. as the first order of the treasu i can confidently predicted decision that will go down on merci's side. >> as if it is this season of good will and humbug will the prime minister confirm the greater part of the labor government, the top rated is 40
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-- nearly four million. >> he makes an extremely good point and added to that, they left record deficit, youth unemployment--and made a complete mess of the economy and had an open-door immigration system and never apologized for a word of it. >> from clark. >> watching over a few things, presenting the issue of your policy, i am little confused with what the prime minister gave a few minutes ago to my hon. friend, will he confirm once he is confirmed that the body that advises the will, nine million households, records since began of people suffering from your poverty and will he
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explain to the house and our constituents as we approach christmas, what is the government prepared to do about this horrible scandal of pure poverty? >> the right hon. gentleman is right that this is a scandal, it does need to be dealt with, i don't believe the figures are correct. in 2012 it is expected 3.9 million households in poverty, but we are committed to tackling poverty. that is why we maintain the fuel payments and increased cold weather payments and cut the increase permanent. we invest in discount and the green de will make a real difference. >> you've been watching prime minister's questions. this was the last question time of the year as they break for the holiday recess. prime minister's questions
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return next year. watch any time at c-span .org. you can find other british programs on c-span .org. >> the taping system was top secret. it seems anyone who new for certain was my father, his secretary, and the secret service agent who installed it. until nicken made white house taping infamous and other recording systems were revealed. against the water gate taping can seem problematic. but this is a unique and invaluable resource. history unfolds in real time. we hear the tense confrontations of the civil rights movement and the life and death situations.
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>> caroline kennedy in a discussion in a 1962 recording of the late president. tuesday evening at 7:00 eastern as book tv continues through the holiday on c-span2. >> our sunday round table from last week is back this week with clarity on the fiscal cliff. thank you both for being with us. guest: i guess congress is going to come back and see if they can come up with something that will give everyone enough political confidence so we can avoid the tax increases that are scheduled. i'm skeptical that is going to happen and my guess is we're going to go over the cliff.


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